The Land Dispute over Krishna Janmabhoomi: Explained!

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Shweta Routh
Shweta Routh
Shweta Routh is a third-year student at KIIT University's School of Mass Communication. Her ambition is to become a good journalist and serve her country. She is a classical dancer who enjoys meeting new people and trying new things.

Amid the Gayanvapi masjid controversy, Krishna Janmabhoomi gained momentum. A lawsuit demanding the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura, which is claimed to be built on the “Krishna Janmabhoomi,” or the birthplace of Lord Krishna, got permission from the district court in Mathura on Thursday, which means that a court in Uttar Pradesh will now hear a lawsuit. 

During the petition hearing, the court stated that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 does not apply to the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah case because the settlement decree is split. Long before it became law, the disputed land issue was signed in 1968. 

The lawsuit was filed by Lucknow resident Ranjana Agnihotri and six others as the “next friends of the infant Lord Krishna” of the Katra Keshav Dev temple. The petitioners have requested that an advocate commissioner be appointed to conduct a video survey at the Shahi Idgah Mosque Premises in Mathura. 

The petitioners claim that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb ordered the Shahi Idgah mosque to be built at the Krishna Janmabhoomi in 1669–70.

The case was previously dismissed by a civil court in Mathura, which stated that the case could not be accepted under the Places of Worship Act of 1991. The act maintains the religious status of any place of worship as it was on August 15, 1947. The Babri mosque, which was partially demolished in 1992 by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple, was the only exception to the law. 

The Mathura Court overturned the civil court’s decision

The Mathura Court overturned the dismissal of a civil court’s plea for the removal of the Shahi Idgah and accepted the plea of the petitioners. 

The court stated in its order that the petitioners had challenged the settlement and subsequent settlement decree. In this case, section 4 (3) (b) of the Places of Worship Act 1991 will not be applicable. This Act does not apply to cases settled or settled by the court in the past, according to sub-section 2 of Section 4 of the Act. In this case, the case will be heard in court, and all parties will be allowed to present their arguments. 

As devotees of Lord Krishna, we have the legal right to file a lawsuit demanding that his property be restored. The mosque was constructed incorrectly on Krishna Janmabhoomi. “Several years ago, there was an agreement on property sharing, but that agreement was illegal,” said Gopal Khandelwal, the petitioner’s lawyer.

However, the Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench ordered the Mathura Court to resolve all cases relating to the Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Mosque dispute within four months on May 12. 

The courts will examine revenue records to determine the legality of a 1968 “compromise agreement” between Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan, the temple’s management authority and a legally recognised society, and the Trust Masjid Idgah. According to Bar and Bench, the temple trust claims that the compromise is invalid because the trust owns the land, and the temple management authority cannot enter into a compromise.

The Hindu-Muslim Agreement’ of 1968

Shahi Eidgah committee and the Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh reached a compromise agreement in 1968 that gave the trust the temple land and the Eidgah committee the management of the Shahi Eidgah, with the Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh having no legal claim on the Shahi Eidgah. Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar, an Indian National Congress leader, was the first chairman of the Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh, which signed the agreement, and his legal authority to do so is disputed. M. A. Ayyangar succeeded him, followed by Akhandananda Saraswati and Ramdev Maharaj. The current chairman is Nrityagopaldas.

Krishna Janmabhoomi Dispute 

According to the petition, the Shahi Idgah Mosque was built after a portion of the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple, which was spread over 13.37 acres of land, was demolished. In 1992, after the demolition of the Babri Mosque, Manohar Lal Sharma, a Vrindavan resident, filed a petition in the Mathura District Court challenging the 1968 agreement as well as a plea to quash the Places of Religious Worship Act of 1991, which maintains the status quo for all places of worship as of August 15, 1947. Multiple petitions have been submitted to the court regarding the Krishna Janmabhoomi case. In 2019, after the final decision of the Supreme Court on the Ram Mandir dispute, it handed over the mosque site to Hindus for a grand Ram temple and ordered alternative land for a mosque. The Krishna Janmabhoomi again gained momentum. 

Current Scenario of Krishna Janmabhoomi Dispute 

On September 25, 2020, the petition was originally filed in the lower court of Mathura by Lucknow-resident Ranjana Agnihotri and six others. However, the court rejected the plea requesting the removal of Shahi Idaq Masjid on September 30, 2020, as non-admissible. 

According to the judge, none of the petitioners was from Mathura and thus had a legitimate stake in the case.

The petitioners then sought to revise the order in the district judge’s court.

The petitioners argue in their lawsuit that they have the right to approach the court because they are devotees of Lord Krishna. They claim they have the right to worship at Lord Krishna’s actual birthplace.

District and Sessions Judge Rajeev Bharti allowed the revision on Thursday after hearing the arguments, which means the original suit will now have to be heard by the lower court, according to a court official. 

Petitioner Manish Yadav filed an application in the local court seeking an Archeological Survey of India (ASI) report on the presence of “signs of a Hindu temple” at the Shahi Idgah Masjid.

Yadav filed two distinct petitions in the civil judge senior division’s court.

“The court has been requested in the first application to obtain a report from an ASI team on the presence of signs of a Hindu temple in the mosque,” said Deepak Sharma, counsel for the petitioner.

In the second application, the court has been asked to issue directions for installing CCTV cameras inside Mathura’s Shahi Idgah mosque to ensure that the “signs of the temple” present there are protected, said Sharma.

According to the petitioner’s counsel, the court has also been asked to issue an order prohibiting non-residents from entering the mosque and directing the home department principal secretary to monitor the mosque and ensure that the temple signs are protected for legal witnesses.

According to the attorney, the petitioner is concerned that the temple signs inside the mosque will be defaced, removed, or damaged.

The Katra Keshav Dev Temple and the Shahi Idgah mosque are both parts of the same complex.

The Krishna Janmbhoomi Sthal’s History

 According to scholars, the Krishna Janmbhoomi temple complex, which houses the Katra Keshav Dev temple, is thought to have been built around the prison cell where Lord Krishna is said to have been born. Kansa’s tyrant ruler imprisoned his parents inside the cell. According to legend, Vajranabha, Krishna’s great-grandson, constructed the temple in the sixth century BC. Aurangzeb is said to have built the Shahi Idgah mosque in 1670. In 1804, the British took control of Mathura. 

The East India Company auctioned off the land of Katra, and it was purchased by Raja Patnimal, a wealthy Banaras banker. Raja Patnimal wished to construct the temple but was unable to do so. 

The land of Katra was passed down to his descendants. The Muslims of Mathura sued his descendant Rai Krishna Das for ownership of 13.37 acres of land on which the shrine and the Shahi Eidgah are located, but the Allahabad High Court ruled in Raj Krishna Das’ favour in both cases in 1935. 

Kailash Nath Katju and Madanmohan Chaturvedi assisted these lawsuits. With the help of industrialist Jugal Kishore Birla, Madan Mohan Malaviya, a politician and educator, purchased the land from Raj Krishna Das on February 7, 1944, for Rs. 13,000. Following Malaviya’s death, Jugal Kishore Birla established the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust on February 21, 1951, which later became the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan. Another industrialist and philanthropist, Jaidayal Dalmia, was entrusted with the construction of the new temple by Jugal Kishore Birla. 

The levelling of the land for the temple complex began in October 1953 and was completed in February 1982. Vishnu Hari Dalmia, his eldest son, took over as trustee and served until his death. Anurag Dalmia, his grandson, is the trust’s Joint Managing Trustee. Other business families, including Ramnath Goenka, contributed to the construction.



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